Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 28, 2012

Obama To Erdogan: Don't Trick Us

It seems that the Obama administration was fearing to be duped by the Turkish premier Erdogan into a NATO Article 5 case of common defense. Severe attacks from Syria onto Turkish soil could trigger such a case. Erdogan had already claimed that some artillery shells that killed five people in the border town of Akçakale were fired by the Syrian army.

To prevent that Erdogan pulls off some Gulf of Tonkin incident a U.S. general was send out to preempt him:

It is not clear who is shooting shells from Syria into Turkey, the commander of the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling has said, private television channel NTV yesterday.

"We are not sure if these shells are from the Syrian army, from rebels who want to get Turkey involved in the issue or from the PKK [Kurdish Workers’ Party]," he said.

Translation: "Dear Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, don't even think of using some fake artillery incident or some similar stunt to draw us further into your war on Syria. Signed: Obama (+ Romney)"

It is obvious that Erdogan's neo-ottoman plan to take over Syria is in deep trouble. Assad will not be overthrown and with no international help coming Turkey has run out of options. For Erdogan the about only thing he can still do to prevent more damage of Turkley's position is to stop all transfer of weapons and personal to Syria and to thereby let the rebels run out of ammunition and money. The war would then die down. Erdogan would need to blame someone for the huge mistake he made with supporting the overthrow of Assad. He will have to fire his foreign minister Dovatogu and blame him for the mess he created with all of Turkey's neighbors.

The killing of the Lebanese Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan has likely shut down most of the organized weapon transfer from Lebanon to Syria. Little seems to come from Jordan. Whatever is coming from Iraq seems to be no more than the usual local smuggling. The only big pipeline of weapons, which was organized by the dead U.S. ambassador Stevens, came from east Libya via Turkey into Syria. When that transfer route is blocked the end of the war on Syria will be in sight.

Posted by b on October 28, 2012 at 17:12 UTC | Permalink


Erdogan gets more egg on his face with the passing of each new day..His neo-Ottoman dreams are shrinking fast.

Posted by: Zico | Oct 28 2012 18:09 utc | 1

The only big pipeline of weapons, which was organized by the dead U.S. ambassador Stevens, came from east Libya via Turkey into Syria.

Interesting point. Is there any plausibility to the idea that this was, in fact, the real reason for the attack in Libya?

Posted by: Base | Oct 28 2012 18:14 utc | 2

Or maybe it's Obama to Erdogan: "Don't Trick us YET." After November 6, all bets are off. Obama will enter a grace period where he's free to get the US into another quagmire, justifying increased 'defense' spending while gutting Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Whatever Obama does, Romney will double down after Jan 20, if he's elected. Obama may be content with selling a "quick intervention," duplicitously based on the Libyan model. The longest war in American history--Afghanistan--has proven to elites that they have learned hoe to successfully stiff public opinion, so the President has a free hand as long as casualties just dribble in.

In any case, the US can't let Syria become a Turkish puppet, because then Turkey would control all non-Russian pipeline routes for Gulf oil and gas to the Mediterranean.

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 28 2012 18:25 utc | 3

b, where did that Stevens info come from?

Posted by: par4 | Oct 28 2012 18:25 utc | 4

That's a very optimistic view but an interesting way out. Obstacles are many including Erdogan's ego, or maybe pressures on him from extremists from his own party whose voices were shut down for a long time and feel it is time for some payback, or even Turkey,s own economic woes who are being hidden and not discussed thanks to the war in Syria. Other obstacles include danger from rebels on Turkey if Jihad dries up in Syria, Qatar's salaried terrorists in Syria.
As for Lebanon, it was always clear that the country was never going to throw a strong lifeline to Syria rebels, even with Wissam al-Hassan Al-Hassan's assassination is probably going to affect rebels' weapons route from Lebanon but not much, rebels will still get support from Lebanon but always on a small scale.
But Al_Hassan's assassination fallout could be that the famous plots that the Syria regime and its supporters in Lebanon are being accused of are going to die out, al-Hassan was a master in designing them. The dark irony is thathis killing seems to have been such a plot, the biggest of them, but even there, it failed to change the game in Lebanon for support of Syria rebels, read Sharmine Narwani's latest in this regard on her blog.

Posted by: Sophia | Oct 28 2012 18:36 utc | 5

@ 4
good question.

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 28 2012 18:41 utc | 6

according to david ignatious who interviewed wissam in august wissam had declared openly after meeting with us officials that he intended to cut lebanese border supply luiens to rebels in syria..thatsv amotve for us and proxies to eliminate him..see thenakedfacts blog..

Posted by: ALI | Oct 28 2012 18:47 utc | 7

Erdogan may have Neo-Ottoman designs but I don't think that this is what it's ALL about. Although I do think he has seen a percieved opportunity. I think Turkey is on a short leash and involved so she can take the heat to a certain extent.

I don't think the GCC want to fund the rebels and end up with Syria under the control of Turkey. There's still a lot of bad blood and suspicion as far as the Arab Gulf states are concerned. Also they are not keen (to say the least) on the secular, modernist take on Islam.

Pipelines are obviously playing a part but I don't know enough to confidently comment on that.

But I see the main event as the proxy war on Iran. It's another way to bleed Iranian treasure along with the economic sanctions. Iran, I think, will go to enormous lengths to support Syria as a Shia ally.

I also see the fall of Syria as a way to neutralise Hizbollah, very important if there is an attack on Iran, whether or not Israel are seen to be contributing, and more so if they go alone (very doubtful). They are moving towards a type of command economy to try to offset the effects of sanctions and increase their manufacturing base. (reported in the Independent in the UK today, so perhaps not 100% accurate)

It seems mental to me that we are aligning ourselves with the crazy Wahabis. Blowback is a certainty.

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 19:37 utc | 8

It seems mental to me that we are aligning ourselves with the crazy Wahabis. Blowback is a certainty.

By "we" I presume you mean "the US" or at least "Western".

It's not a recent thing, this alignment.

It's been that way since at least around the time of the Russian entry into Afghanistan - you do know that, right?

In fact many would argue that this alignment has been going on since before the creation of Saudi Arabia as a recognisable "Nation State" in the 1920's.

The Saud family/tribe was backed by both US and British interests since at least that time. That's how come they managed to take the place over: they had US/British backing.

I see no reason to pre-suppose (or "invent"?) a discontinuity here - seems to me they've always worked together since at least the 1920's and even before (Lawrence of Arabia?) - and I really see no reason to insist that such alignment was merely a periodic temporary convenience of any sort.

Looks to me like a century long happy marriage, interspersed with a few very public, but highly and deliberately, misleading spats: to purposefully throw people off the scent, and hide the reality of the relationship

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 28 2012 20:14 utc | 10

Following Billyboy 8

It is obvious that Erdogan's neo-ottoman plan to take over Syria is in deep trouble.

b, I don't think this diagnosis of Erdogan's position is right.

Neo-Ottomanism is dead. It was always a political idea, not an ambition to reconquer the Ottoman empire. Nobody would accept an idea that Turkey should reconquer Syria, Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, let alone the parts of the Ottoman empire which were more important, such as Bulgaria, Serbia, etc.

Neo-Ottomanism was closely associated with the other policy of "No problems with the neighbours", which is also dead.

Erdogan seems to me to have had a solid policy, but is touchy and easily spooked. That means easily diverted from his intended policy by his fundamental and irrational fears. Al-Maliki in Iraq is like that too.

In this case, he seems to have been swept up by the Sunni crusade against the Shi'a. Few in Turkey want an invasion of Syria, but Erdogan seems ready.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 28 2012 20:15 utc | 11

"I see no reason to pre-suppose (or "invent"?) a discontinuity here - seems to me they've always worked together since at least the 1920's and even before (Lawrence of Arabia?) - and I really see no reason to insist that such alignment was merely a periodic temporary convenience of any sort."

Thanks star69 I know it's not a new thing. I've read Seven Pillars and so on. I like to keep my comments simple. I don't want to come here and give folk a history lesson. I come to read the comments, learn a bit and give my opinion.

With the greatest of respect I'm not pre-supposing, inventing or insisting.

However, I think the extremism has increased over the years, I also know there is existing blowback.

But I also think that the more Western powers train and support them the worse the blowback will be when it comes (again).

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 20:34 utc | 12

Also, I was eating dinner when posting. I accept I should have said CONTINUING to align ourselves. :o)

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 20:38 utc | 13

Perhaps the Realists see the jihadis in the same light as the US/Eu saw the Mafia in Italy after WWII: the final bulwark against the Collective State. A terrorist attack here or there won't cause much damage or threaten the Hegemon. Meanwhile spread-the-wealth types, eg Assad Gadhaffi Mossadegh etc are kept down.

Posted by: yes_but | Oct 28 2012 21:28 utc | 14

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 28, 2012 4:14:29 PM | 10

sorry to spoil it for you, but there was the Shia strategy, remember?

"As Khalidi caustically notes, 'Perle and his colleagues were here proposing the complete restructuring of a region whose history and religion their suggestions reveal they know hardly anything about.' In short, the Iraqi component of the neocons 'new strategy' was based on an ignorant fantasy of prospective Shia support for ties with Israel."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 28 2012 21:42 utc | 15

Star69 - This has worked both ways - when the British economy was deep in the shit in the 1960s, the Saudis signed massive defence contracts etc. which bailed out the British economy in return for British help for defeating the insurgency in Yemen being supported by Nasser which was why Egypt was so easily defeated in the 1967 war with Israel. Same in 1985 with the Al-Yamamah contract I believe

Posted by: blowback | Oct 28 2012 22:20 utc | 16

@ 16 "This has worked both ways"

It certainly has - in fact it doubt it the marraige could have withstood the test of time were it not to some degree a 2-way street.

Here is as good a description as I've seen anywhere of the situation

The world is a business, Mr. Beale!

pay attention to his description of the money-flow - seems to describe quite succinctly this back-and-forth you have highlighted, but I'm pretty sure I know who the senior partner is in this relationship.

Call it a marriage-of-convenience if you like, and there's only one pair of trousers and also only room for one pair of legs in those trousers (there's undoubtedly a few bastard kids knocking about, that the missus might not be aware of either ;-)

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 28 2012 22:39 utc | 17

@16 @17

You may or may not be aware of this site

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 23:05 utc | 18


I'm really not being dismissive, and don't mean to be rude (and I'm sure your link will be of use to others) but I already know all about that stuff - have done since the early 90's.

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 28 2012 23:19 utc | 19


No worries. We just got the internet where I live.

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 23:26 utc | 20

Sorry Star69.

We seem to be looking at things from a similar angle but I feel your last 2 posts directed at me have been just a wee touch condescending. Perhaps I'm wrong, no tone or facial expression makes electronic communication fraught with misunderstanding.

None of this is new to me, I have been and activist since the early 90's, however this site is new to me so forgive me if I seem a little wet behind the ears.

Posted by: Billyboy | Oct 28 2012 23:37 utc | 21

I do like b's optimistic forecast for what is happening here with Turkish intervention in Syria. It is obvious that Erdogan is in political trouble. If he can simply throw his FM overboard and that is the end of it, very fine. Unfortunately, he could decide to escalate the conflict in order to reduce internal political pressure. Nothing like all out war to solve a domestic political problem. The Austrians and Germans in 1914 certainly have shown where that might lead.

Nevertheless, even if things could blow up in unexpected directions, I think b's optimism is justified.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 29 2012 0:18 utc | 22

apologies - not my intention at all

"no tone or facial expression makes electronic communication fraught with misunderstanding."

yeah - that.

Posted by: Star69 | Oct 29 2012 1:16 utc | 23

Russia has also sent a message. Recently, after the gas pipeline from Iran was blown up (again), Russia increased its gas supplies to Turkey, without which Turkey can't exist, by fifty percent. The message to Erdogan was clear.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 29 2012 2:00 utc | 24

Just for the record:
I don't think that Erdogan would so much as to dare to even dream to do anything vis a vis Syria without the EXPLICIT permission of NATO/USA.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 3:50 utc | 25

Erdogan was duped by Mrs. Clinton. How many divisions does Mrs. Clinton command? None. Stupid Erdogan, to be fooled by Mrs. Clinton and her inability to affect events. The Pentagon has an aversion to jihadists, finally, and they say back off. This was clear long ago -- Recep -- and you should have caught on. Better latch on to Russia and Iran now. No future with Mrs. Clinton. She's soon history, anyhow.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 29 2012 4:01 utc | 26

Regarding my own post 25:
A clarification: What I mean is that Erdogan does not fire a single shell into syria without the West's expilict approval. And I don't think that he would try to 'trick' the West. He may hate seeing Asad in power at the cost of his own humiliation, but -just like the Emir of Qatar- he knows VERY WELL his place with respect to his masters in NATO/US. So thinking that some of his behaviour maybe of an independent decision making is a mistake in my opinion.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 4:15 utc | 27

Libyan weapons line - closed

Lebanese weapons line - closed

Someone with a plan out there?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Oct 29 2012 4:56 utc | 28

Oct 29 is Turkey's Republic Day, and the republic has internal problems particularly concerning its celebration because of opposition to Erdogan's policies toward Syria and the PKK.

President Abdullah Gül: “Turkey’s priorities and targets are well-known. In order to be a powerful country of the new world order, I want once again to recall our priorities which require great care.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday said Turkey would continue its march to the bright future by embracing its values, vowing, “They will not allow any power, any dirty intention to stop this march.”

Any power, any dirty intention, stop a march?

Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: “Unfortunately, both the government and those who couldn’t internalize the republic are making efforts to bar celebrations of Republic Day. But we are sure that those who attack republican values will not be able to prevent enthusiasm for celebrations of the republic, as collaborators and extensions of imperialism were not able to prevent rallies and marches even when our land was under occupation in the past”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 29 2012 5:06 utc | 29

Don Bacon (@29):
Can you elaborate on your quotation of the statement by Kilicdaroglu?
How much do 'you' think that the 'The Republic' would behave differently from Erdogan?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 5:18 utc | 30

@4 b, where did that Stevens info come from?

It was discussed here in the comments a while ago.

Also here: Was Syrian weapons shipment factor in ambassador’s Benghazi visit?

Through shipping records, Fox News has confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means "The Victory," was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun -- 35 miles from the Syrian border -- on Sept. 6, just five days before Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an extended assault by more than 100 Islamist militants.

On the night of Sept. 11, in what would become his last known public meeting, Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and escorted him out of the consulate front gate one hour before the assault began at approximately 9:35 p.m. local time.

Although what was discussed at the meeting is not public, a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi to negotiate a weapons transfer, an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.

Posted by: b | Oct 29 2012 9:00 utc | 31

fukus cat paw in south asia is india
in east asia its australia, japan
in central asia its turkey

all had acted irrationally in antagonising their neighbors n trading partner, in short, shooting themselves in the foot.

why ?

theorom 2
*ask fukus*

Posted by: denk | Oct 29 2012 9:26 utc | 32

Star69 | Oct 28, 2012 4:14:29 PM |

Star69, the art of colonialism is to play tribes off against each other, remember?

Saddam Hussein was an ally, too, Khomeini would not have landed in Iran without French support, the US sent weapons to Iran via Israel after the Iranian revolution and so on and so forth ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 9:40 utc | 33

I am not sure the Libyan weapons line is closed, Libyan weapons are now outside of official US state control, that is a different matter altogether

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 9:44 utc | 34

Star 69 - Cool, accepted.

Regarding arms from Libya delivered by NATO transport planes.

Pepe Escobar made reference to this back in Feb this year. His info came from a Borzou Daragahi story in the Financial times.

Can't get a link to the FT story since you have to pay for it.

Posted by: billyboy | Oct 29 2012 10:06 utc | 35

When the Lebanese navy intercepted an arms ship headed to Syria from Libya so months ago, "spontaneous" clashes erupted in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, apparently another symptom of the Syrian Civil war spreading between borders. Alternatively, one could look at it as a warning to the Lebanese authorities not to interfere in the interference in Syria.

I don't believe that Erdogan and Obama are sleeping in separate beds over the Syrian issue. It seems to me that both are working in tandem - pulling the strings, coordinating arms deliveries to rebel fighters. Violence in Lebanon, it appears, is evidence of this conniving. The recent assassination certainly did wonders to fire up and bolster the numbers of sunni fighters against the Syrian Government, as the border incident between Syria and Turkey was designed to fire up Turkish public support for intervention in Syria.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 29 2012 10:34 utc | 36

On a separate note:
DAMASCUS, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Scores of Kurds fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have attacked strongholds of the rebels Free Syrian Army in the northern province of Aleppo in retaliation to similar attacks carried by rebels on Kurds- dominated areas in Syria, media reports said Saturday.

Reports said the Kurdish move has come against the backdrop of an attack carried out recently by the armed rebels against the Kurds-dominated al-Ashrafieh district in Aleppo.

It said the armed rebels have kidnapped 14 Kurds in northern Syria whose destinies are still unknown, adding that more than 36 people have been killed in fighting between the Kurds and rebels in the northern area.

(AFP) – 13 minutes ago -- In Aleppo...Kurdish militia are reviled by many in the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab, Free Syrian Army (FSA). There are deep tensions between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has been seen as doing the regime's bidding, and the rebels, seen by the Kurds as being influenced by an Islamist agenda.

But the FSA, which is already overstretched and under armed, can ill afford to take on the Kurds, no matter how much their foot soldiers bray for revenge.

Yussef Aboud, a commander in the Tawhid Brigade of the FSA, said the problem had been resolved after the Kurds sent peace emissaries.

"We don't want this problem again because it will make things very, very difficult," he told AFP at his office well behind the frontline.


Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 29 2012 11:01 utc | 37

You are probably right, Obama and Erdogan are on the same page, however, I doubt Obama and Saudi Arabia are on the same page, and Saudi Arabia owns Erdogan, so that would account for Erdogan's political mood swings.

And this here is David Ignatius take on Wissam Hassan - it is probably not true but I guess the official US line what they are pressing for in Lebanon:
"Hassan made several points: The first was that he hoped to keep Lebanon out of the Syrian war by sealing the border so that it wouldn't be a supply conduit for the rebels, as Turkey has become. The second was to check the power of the Shiite militia Hezbollah, by making sure it didn't turn its guns on other Lebanese.

The other theme of that August conversation was the tricky task of supporting the Syrian opposition. Hassan had been talking to US officials about ways to encourage the Free Syrian Army and, at the same time, check the growth of al-Qaeda extremists. Hassan was very focused on the anti-jihadist challenge. He listed a series of operations where the Free Syrian Army forces had battled extremists, in several instances killing them outright.

"The Syrian people are not ready to adopt extremism," he insisted. America didn't have to supply the rebels with weapons, he said, but "the US has to be at the border," working with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to train the rebels and help them with command and control.

After I traveled to Syria myself in early October, I sought Hassan's view. He phoned me on Oct. 16 from France. The key in Syria was to create a unified command structure for the Free Syrian Army, Hassan insisted. "Every dollar and every single bullet has to go through the higher command."

Hassan closed the conversation with an admonition. The United States shouldn't imagine that it was getting into a "gray war" in Syria, he said. "This is a real war ... you have to do it 24 hours a day."

Now Saudi Arabia owned Wissam Hassan, too, and he had to live, deal with Hezbollah, so how do you think he solved this complex situation and who felt cheated?

And what in this triangle killed the US ambassador?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 11:14 utc | 38

#29: @Don Bacon: Your view about the disagreements between Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan. Erdogan's party AKP always tries to play down Turkey's Kemalist past, and they've gone too far this time, since most Turks are proud of the republic, including a lot of AKP voters. But the position vis a vis PKK is more fluid. Both have at different times [Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan] seen more reconciliatory, and at other times more nationalistic.

The RPP [Kilicdaroglu's party] is the founding party of the republic, founded by Kemal Ataturk, but it has not been able to update its profile and policies to match today's realities, unfortunately.

It's difficult to exactly place Turkey's position w.r.t. Syria from day to day, but a lot of posters here are too simplistic in their analysis. It's neither a position of 100% subservience to the USA, nor a position of complete independence, even Erdogan realizes the folly of going it alone. And other analyses ignore the effect of public opinion, it is public opinion at home that's keeping Erdogan reined, in the absence of the counterbalance from the Army, whose wings have been clipped. Most people who post here may not realize that there has been elections of some sort in Turkey since the 1860's, male suffrage since 1906, a republican system of government since 1920, multi-party elections and numerous peaceful changes of power, and of course 3 coups--1960, 1971 and 1980. Regardless of how you compare Turkey to Europe, if you compare it to the middle east it has a representative government which can't go against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of people.

Don't forget Turkish parliament refused the US request to use our land as the staging post of the a northern front into Iraq in 2003, the only parliament to take such a position. Turkey may be compared to Iran in terms of historical continuity, political sophistication--Erdogan and Davutoglu notwithstanding--and is way ahead of other middle eastern countries, including Assad's dictatorship with its 98% winning margin elections. As for those here who keep using words such as "poodle", etc., their cartoon like fantasies about what really is going on is not worth a response.

Finally, neo-ottomanism was a term invented by outside observers, then lapped up by AKP establishment; its genesis lies in the US obsession with a "model islamic democracy". If they can pretend Turkey is it, then AKP not suprprisingly figured it could turn it into a kind of a political stamp of approval.

Posted by: kodlu | Oct 29 2012 12:10 utc | 39

@ 31 "a source told Fox News "

a rather tenuous foundation on which to build a whole theory revolving around Stevens and Weapons, though.

From what I can see, the Fox report is where all these theories related to Stevens and weapon spring from.

I certainly wouldn't bet the house on it having the least grain of truth in it.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 12:45 utc | 40

ahem, I agree on the Fox-News source, however this is how the BBC concludes what Stevens did in Libya in 2011.

"In an article in a state department publication, Mr Stevens described arriving in Benghazi in April 2011 in a Greek cargo ship to make contact with the TNC.

"Mr Stevens and his team facilitated "non-lethal military assistance" to the TNC, the article said."

Don't you think that Mr Steven was still involved in giving "non-lethal military assistance" to rebels in 2012.

And don't you think it is telling how the BBC uses quotation marks within a quote?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 12:55 utc | 41

"Finally, neo-ottomanism was a term invented by outside observers, "

Neo-Ottomanism sounds merely like a secular version of the "Caliphate" nonsense that people like Daniel Pipes, the delightful Rita Katz and her Mossad front-group SITE and of course the fake-Al Q Internet-spokesmen such as the fake-Jihadi Jewish-kid Adam Gadhann, like to refer to all the time.

I'd call "Neo-Ottomanism" a complete an Israeli/Zionist/Neo-Con fabrication to be honest

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 12:57 utc | 42

@41 - so basically you appear to asking me to look at a BBC report, as evidence of . . . . nothing at all, from what I can see. "Flimsy" doesn't even begin to describe it. And I can't even figure out what it is supposed to be evidence of.

Couple of weeks ago you were swearing blind that Qatar was the cause of it all, in several threads here recently you now appear to be trying to lay it all at the feet of the Saudis. Thing is, you were pretty damn certain at the time you were trying to point the finger at Qatar.

Couple of weeks ago you were also swearing blind that Stevens was killed because of his supposed efforts at weapons control, now you're claiming that that is not the case at all. Thing is you were pretty damn certain at the time you were trying to point the finger at "Weapons control efforts".

Your statements on these matters seem just a teensy-weensy bit confused and contradictory, to put it mildly

Forgive me if this sounds rude, I apologise in advance for any insult you may feel as a result of my saying this, but from what I can see, when it comes to trying to piece-together some semblance of the truth of events, and If one wanted to read opinions and reasoning of absolutely no value whatsoever, you'd definitely be the go-to-guy for that.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 13:15 utc | 43

43 do not read it then ... :-))

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 13:54 utc | 44

Sharmine Narwami on FUKUS red lines in Lebanon

and Elliot Abrams on rather no red lines in Lebanon

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29 2012 14:00 utc | 45

A 13 part series by T West of AfriSynergy titled Libya, What Fox News Won't Tell You, 12 of 13 view all 13 parts here

Watch it, this man has a lots of inside contact with pro Muammar Gaddafi supporters in Libya.

Posted by: hans | Oct 29 2012 15:39 utc | 46

@kodlu 39;
I get the feeling that some how I may have offended you by the language that I used in describing the relationship between Erdogan and the West? If that is the case, then I apollogize, I didn't mean to be offensive.

You talk about the public opinion and the role that it plays in reining in Erdogan, and then point to some major differences between Turkey and the other middle east countries. In particular you name "Assad's dictatorship".

Firstly, when I -implicitly- compared Turkey to a middle eastern country it was Qatar. Now let's have a look at how this comparison works: Qatar is 100% dependent on the US arms sales and it has a citizen population of 300,000 furthermore it is a stone's throw away from Iran with its ~75,000,000 population and its independent military industry. As a result it is completely unrealistic to think that Qatar would move a finger in this region without US approval. Qatar owes its very existence to the 5th fleet. If Qatari custom officers show the audacity to physically attack Russian Ambassador (who obviously has diplomatic immunity) it is because the US tells them to do so. It is not the Qatari officers' fists which attack the Russian Ambassador, it is the fist of the fifth fleet!

Now how does this compare to Turkey? It goes without saying that contrary to Qatar (and all other Sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf), Turkey is a real country. Also it is true that Turkey has had a constitution (and also elections) since 1876.
This however, does not mean that it can take any steps against Assad without the US' explicit approval (or that it is not in a position to trick USA). Turkey is completely dependent on the West for it's arms industry (or at least the most important parts of it which could give it an edge against Syria). From F-16s and its helicopters to it's navy and it's tanks Turkish armed forces are heavily dependent on NATO. This by itself perhaps is not as important as the economic fact that Turkey is heavily dependent on the foreign capital and multi-national corporations.
A lot of people got very much excited when Erdogan talked tough against Israel and sent Mavi Marmara. I was not among those people. Erdogan's tough talk against Shimon Peres did not make me ignore the Turkish troops in Afghanistan. Nor did I forget how the Anatolian Capitalists relied heavily on US and EU just as much as the traditional Istanbul Capitalists do (the former is the force behind the AKP, and CHP would be the party of the choice for the latter). Turkey is a member of NATO it relies completely on the West's technology and capital for its military equipment as well as its economy. Without the western capital to create employment and production in Turkey, Turkey will go through the same experience as Mexico did in 1995 when the foreign capital started to withdraw over-night.

You emphasize the multi-party system in Turkey but that system is not any more significant than the multi party system in the West (the difference between the tweedledee and the tweedledum).The difference between CHP and AKP is pretty much the same as the difference between the British Labour party and the Conservative party. Both parties (CHP and AKP) are the represetatives of the capitalist class. That was why I asked Don Bacon how differently he tought the 'the republic' would behave? Does anyone remember the position that Turkey held in the Bosnian war? Does anyone remember the recommendations of Bulent Ecevit regarding the Turkish foreign policy both in Bosnian war and in the central asia? CHP would probably be less aggressive than Erdogan with respect to Syria, but it would still be on the side of US/NATO. As Samir Amin very brilliantly described it "Turkey is the Colombia of the Middle East".

One last comment: I don't think that the referendum in Syria with 98% majority is as fake looking as you perhaps think. If my memory serves right around 47% of the population did not participate in that referendum, and in the absence of that 47%, the 98% support is more like a 51% support which seems like a plausible number. By the way I am not sure about the exact numbers, you can google it up and find out the exact numbers.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 16:06 utc | 47

@ 43 do not read it then ... :-))

a more logical approach might be if you were to just try a& not communicate such nonsense in the first place, wouldn't it?

That would be my preferred solution, then I would not make the mistake of reading your deliberately faulty logic

you did after all directly address me, not the other way around, so telling me not to read it is a stupid trollish reply.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 16:15 utc | 48

Trafficking in Lies and Propaganda
" At issue is wrongfully blaming breaches on Assad. It’s happened repeatedly throughout the conflict. Blame game rules work that way. In lockstep, media scoundrels dutifully regurgitate state propaganda. Expect Reuters‘ Oct 27 report to circulate globally. It headlined “Syria bombards major cities, weakening truce: activists.” “Activists” is code deception for pro-Western elements. They say whatever Washington wants repeated for whatever benefits they derive. . . . . Assad called for conflict resolution last year. Most Syrians support him. Peace isn’t possible without a willing partner. . . . [Peace] Agreements require good faith on both sides."

Like peace-talks, debate only works when those claiming to be engaged in it are doing so in good faith.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 16:44 utc | 49

@ Pirouz_2
What I know about Turkey would fit in a thimble. I'm merely pointing out the internal domestic differences which act to restrain Erdogan, IMO. As an observer I see major differences that are greater than normal, so I differ from you when you say:

You emphasize the multi-party system in Turkey but that system is not any more significant than the multi party system in the West (the difference between the tweedledee and the tweedledum).

Hurriyet, today (Republic Day)
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu arrived to Ulus Square following the official ceremony in Anıtkabir. Kılıçdaroğlu had wanted to pass through security barriers, however, police forces refused to allow him through. He and his bodyguards were also subjected to pepper gas. There has reportedly been a struggle between Kılıçdaroğlu’s bodyguards and the security forces on hand.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 29 2012 16:52 utc | 50

42,you are the first commenter here or at that bastion of bullcrap,the Guardian(GGs latest expose of duplicity and lies is devoid of one mention of Israel and Zionism comments)to finger the real suspects in all our demise,the Zionists, whose brita filter of info refuses to let US put our finger on the true culprits of disaster,hatred and divide and conquer that have us chasing our tails trying to stamp out our own self created enemies in the freakin 21st century,an unbelievable conundrum to those of us born in the 20th century of relative progress towards world peace and understanding.
Todays lying times says that Random House and Penguin are to be merged,as the Zionists further strangle discourse and open exchanging of ideas.Pathetic that supposed antitrust laws have been thrown to the winds of Ziopower,as every media outlet,movie making,sports,radio,and wealth schemes are allowed to be amassed by dual citizens totally disconnected from human rights,justice and truth,and every pol bows at their altar of greed.
And Steven sowed his own seeds of his destruction,and I still think Ghaddafi loyalists had a hand in his demise,as the next week we let the dogs loose on his bani walid stronghold,in revenge,but of course that narrative won't fly in our new disconnect from reality.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 29 2012 17:24 utc | 51

"I still think Ghaddafi loyalists had a hand in his demise"

you may be right, but I have my doubts - I suspect that the very same people that planned 9-11-01 also planned 9-11-12.

Personally I'd be inclined to indulge in a little Schadenfreude if ' people were the culprits.

"the next week we let the dogs loose on his bani walid stronghold"

- again you may be right, but I suspect that just as in Afghanistan in 2001, where 9-11-01 was used as the excuse for a long-planned attack on that nation, so to was 9-11-12 used to provide an excuse to justify what can really only be described as a ruthless War-Crime of a massacre, (using Weapons of Mass Destruction, BCWs, if recent reports are correct), in Bani Walid.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 17:41 utc | 52

@Don Bacon 50;

I cannot claim that I know a lot about Turkey either. So thank you for sharing your opinion with me, through sharing information we increase our knowledge.

I am not denying that there is an internal power struggle inside Turkey. When Erdogan started purging and prosecuting a lot of officers from the Armed forces (he also prosecuted a lot of jurnalists/activists but that did not get much attention in the MSM, or at least I didn't notice any major mention of it) a lot of people thought he was trying to democratize Turkey and bring it out of the shadow of the authority of the military. I didn't think so. I saw that as 'power struggle', a struggle over hegemony.

So as I said before I don't deny that there is an internal power struggle in Turkey and because of that rivalry CHP may say many things when in opposition (I don't even deny that in the particular case of Syria, CHP could follow a more dovish policy, but then again I think that there is a chance that even Erdogan himself would follow a more dovish policy if he could go back in time to the begining of the Syrian crisis) but they [CHP] cannot go beyond certain boundaries. CHP itself is a very pro-Western, pro-capitalism party, and in fact one of its main criticisms about AKP is that it is taking Turkey away from the path of Westernization.

It would perhaps be interesting for you to know that one of the major supporting figures of CHP, Mr. Emre Kongar -like many other people affiliated with CHP- after the outburst of Erdogan in Davos (in 2009), heavily criticized him for the following reasons:

"[Erdogan is]

*trying to shift the priority in our foreign policy from the West to the Middle East;

*making our relationship with EU insincere;

*'Arabifying' Turkey [pirouz_2:I apologize for making up the word 'arabifying' as I don't think that it exists in English. What I was trying to say was: 'Turning Turkey into an Arab country'];

*instead of siding with all of the Palestinian population during the Gazza crisis, he sided with the radical Iran-Hamas axis... We must not forget that PLO and the Palestinian head of state Mr. Mahmoud Abbas have been excluded from Recep Tayyip Erdogan's relationship network"

The last item in this list may sound to some people like a rightful criticism to the sectarian mentality that Mr. Erdogan indeed has, but one must not forget that at the time of this criticism Hamas was the sole legitimate representative of the majority of Palestinians. It had won a landslide election and Mahmoud Abbas was being forced on Palestinians by the West.

By the way what I wrote above from Mr. Kongar is not an opinion peculiar to him. You can consider these criticisms as CHP criticisms in general.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 18:20 utc | 53

edit in #52:
if ' people were the culprits. = if Ghaddaffi's people were the culprits.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 29 2012 19:33 utc | 54


"I don't even deny that in the particular case of Syria, CHP could follow a more dovish policy."

Neither would Kılıçdaroğlu.
Hurriyet, Jul 28, 2012
Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu recently criticized the government's stance on Syria, saying Turkey is now "a country in trouble."

"We do not want our people to pay the price for Western interests," Kılıçdaroğlu said. "We do not want Turkey to be dragged into the swamp. In summary, we do not want war."

There are no policy differences like this in the West where everyone toes the party line.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 29 2012 19:45 utc | 55

@Don Bacon;

As I said in my previous message I don't think that had Erdogan known that the Syrian war would get to this state, that even he himself would have been as hawkish as he is now. Right now he is sort of stuck. It is one thing to oppose a war when you see it is not going well and it is quite another when you oppose it even when you suspect that you may overthrow Assad fairly quickly.

But nonetheless I very much hope that you are right and I am wrong. I hope that CHP would follow a fundamentally different foreign policy from AKP. I hope that all these rhetoric by CHP contain more substance than the rhetoric of "change" by Obama in 2008.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 29 2012 20:50 utc | 56

@ahem 40

@ 31 "a source told Fox News "

a rather tenuous foundation on which to build a whole theory revolving around Stevens and Weapons, though.

coming from the guy who built a whole theory of the NWO based on one Bush sr. sentence ...

for my part, I think it's quite obvious the Benghazi attack was a matter of weapons black market - what else could justify a CIA station in a place where poppies don't grow?

Posted by: claudio | Oct 30 2012 1:39 utc | 57

SBS Dateline · 3,759 like this
2 hours ago ·
Watch SBS INSIGHT get heated at 8.30 tonight when an audience member claims the majority of Syrians support the Assad government

watch SBS try to square the circle

Posted by: brian | Oct 30 2012 6:14 utc | 58

"coming from the guy who built a whole theory of the NWO based on one Bush sr. sentence ..."

lol, wut? You're babbling inanities as far as I can see.

So, no change there then.

Posted by: ahem | Oct 30 2012 7:09 utc | 59

Can anyone comment on the reliability of recent reports about Syria's use of cluster bombs? I heard Scott Simon mention them in an interview a few days ago. Apparently, HRW issued a report a few weeks ago, which Al Akhbar covered thus:

Human Rights Watch on Sunday said Syrian government forces have dropped Russian-made cluster bombs over civilian areas in the past week as they battle to reverse rebel gains on the highway to Aleppo.

The bombs were dropped from planes and helicopters, with many of the strikes taking place near the main north-south highway running through Maarat al-Numan, HRW said in a report.

HRW previously reported on Syrian use of cluster bombs, which have been banned by most countries, in July and August, but the renewed strikes indicate the government's determination to regain strategic control in the northwest.

More than 100 nations have banned the use, stockpiling, transfer or sale of cluster bombs under a convention which became international law in 2010. Syria has not signed it, nor have Russia, China, the United States or Israel.

Bomblets that do not initially explode can litter the ground, killing and maiming civilians long after a war is over.

NPR's previous brief report by Melisa Goh emphasized the Russian supply connection:

Much of Syria's munitions are reportedly Russian-made; earlier this week Turkey forced a Syrian plane from Moscow to land on suspicions it was carrying Russian weaponry. Human Rights Watch says the cluster bombs used in recent attacks were Soviet-made.

Cluster bombs can scatter hundreds of "bomblets" over a wide area, not all of which may detonate immediately. They're considered such a danger to civilians that many countries banned their use under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither Syria nor Russia have signed the convention.

"Syria's disregard for its civilian population is all too evident in its air campaign, which now apparently includes dropping these deadly cluster bombs into populated areas," said Steve Goose, the rights group's arms director.

Human Rights Watch cited interviews with residents and several videos posted by activists, as well as accompanied its report with its own video.

Even though NPR's website posts an AP report that mentions several of the other countries that use cluster bombs, I see no indication that this information got on the air.

The damage that Israel did by cluster bombing South Lebanon in 2006 is justly condemned as a war crime. If there is credible evidence that Syria has used cluster bombs, it should be condemned as well. However, if all HRW has to rely on is video from "activists," I'll wait for more credible evidence.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Oct 30 2012 20:58 utc | 60

b, thanks for the link.

Posted by: par4 | Oct 31 2012 22:49 utc | 61

a cat paw cant *wag the dog*

* There’s no way Turkey would jeopardize its relationship with Russia if it hasn’t been prodded by Uncle Sam.*

Posted by: denk | Nov 1 2012 7:54 utc | 62

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